Throughout the history, there have been many great artists who have made an impression on society as we see it today. Such as Michael Angelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo Da Vinci. These men took the chance and did what man had never done or tried, they took art to a whole new level. They did this by pushing limitations and elevated man through their paintings, drawings or sculptures. Many of men have tried to reproduce these arts, but couldn’t get them as perfect as the artist themselves. The one man and his works we will be discussing in this paper are Leonardo Da Vinci.
Leonardo Da Vinci
Da Vinci’s life began when he was born out of wedlock on April 15, 1452 to the parents of Piero Da Vinci who was a Notary and to a peasant woman named Caterina in a small town called Vinci. His father raised him most of his life until later on when he married. Between his father and biological mother they had a total of 17 children. Because Leonardo was born out of wedlock he was not worthy of any formal education so he couldn’t become a notary like his father, or become a physician or any other noble profession of that time and period.
Da Vinci was known to be a left handed and dyslexic as well as being a
procrastinating perfectionist who left many of his paintings unfinished and even destroyed some. The mystery will go unsolved to as why Da Vinci left a lot of his work unfinished. Maybe it was because he was bored or went on to other projects. We also will never know why he destroyed a lot of his own work, was it because it wasn’t as perfect as he wanted it to be. No one will ever know the answer, but Da Vinci himself. However Da Vinci did finish his first solo painting in 1478 of the Madonna and Child. In 1481 he started painting the Adoration of Magi but never finished. But in this painting he did reveal what type of technique he used by painting with a dark surface first than adding elements of light. Now in 1482 Leonardo entered the service of Duke of Milan. The seventeen years that he spent with the Duke, The Duke always kept him busy painting, designing weapons buildings and machinery.
The Famous Last Supper
While Da Vinci still was serving for the Duke of Milan he was commissioned to paint The Last Supper. Da Vinci knowing how important this was, he had to decide the location of where the painting would be painted. After great though he decided the Last Supper should be painted on the dining room wall of the monastery was the monks sat down to eat dinner, located in Santa Maria Delle Grazi. The reasoning behind this was every time the monks would sit down to dinner it would be like sitting down with Jesus and his disciples for their last meal. Therefore Da Vinci knew that when the Last Supper was painted before, the painters always focused on the breaking of the bread, not on the moment Jesus told the apostles that one would betray him. So Leonardo set out to do just that.
The first step was to duplicate everything in the dining room from the table at which Jesus and his apostles sat at, to the dining hall windows, and to the illuminated wall that appears to be lit by the window of the room.
The Second step was to start painting, Leonardo looks at how other artist isolated Judas, and putting him on one side of the table as if he was being punished. Leonardo seats him with the others, who are arranged in four groups of three around Jesus. (They say three is considered to be a holy number, such as the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.) The other disciples arguing and looking at one another except the one on the right hand of Jesus who is Judas trying to find out who will betray him. But what Leonardo does he puts shadows around the guilty one. And the silence of Judas and his clutched hands had given him away.
Now it is said the Leonardo used real subjects for The Last supper, and that he painted them one by one, putting them in where they belonged., and the person who he chooses to pose as Jesus was not affected by sin. When he went to paint Judas he searched everywhere, and couldn’t find anyone that would fit the description he was looking for. Until one day he stumbled upon this man in prison who was sentenced to die for the life of crime and murder, that fit his description of a man who had long shaggy hair and was dark skinned, his face that had deceit it in and someone would betray his best friend no matter what the cost. It is said that after Da Vinci had finished his perfect painting, he told the guard to take the man away. But the man looked at Da Vinci before being taken away he asked him if he remembered him, and he said no. He then Looked up into the heavens and said : “Oh lord have I fallen so low”, then turning his face to the painter he cried, “Leonardo Da Vinci, look at me again, for I am the same man you painted just seven years ago as the figure of Christ”. We do know that this picture has a lot of human emotions, which would be the first of its kind. Also, we do know the Renaissance period artist did find ways of expressing themselves through their pieces of work, such as adding symbols that would convey someone’s thoughts and opinions. Also, Artist also started adding realistic features to their painting to them look more human. This is where the concept of Humanism came into place.